In a special guest blog for LJS Jewellery Business Week, Clare tells us why January is so important for your business…
January is such a great time to take a big deep breath and work out exactly what you want from your jewellery business this year. It’s often hard to plan ahead when you are snowed under with orders, admin and the day-to-day grind, but having a clear vision for the future and an action plan for achieving it will make every day calmer and more productive.
Carve out some time this month to work on your business rather than in it, and you won’t regret it. Here are my recommendations for where to start.
1. Have a financial plan
Do you know how much profit you made last month? Or last year? Do you know what your best-selling ranges are and where you are losing money?
If you don’t have this information at the click of a button, you are not in control of your business. Simple accounting software can generate detailed reports which make fascinating reading, and save you time with invoicing and paying bills. Don’t wait until the end of the year for your accountant to give you the facts.
Create a budget for the year, monitor it regularly against your actual profit & loss account, and react quickly if things aren’t going to plan. You can download a 2013 Budget Template here.
2. Review your product range
Do an honest review of your product range. Rate each item on it’s popularity and profitability. Does it fit into your overall vision for your brand and the direction you want to take your business?
Sometimes it is hard to remove items from a website even if no-one is buying them, ‘just in case’. But if it doesn’t fit with your brand or your price point, you may be confusing your customers.
Don’t be afraid to streamline your collection to offer your customers only your very best designs, and have a clear creative vision for your new designs.
3. Get to grips with marketing
Try and get more strategic with your marketing this year. Decide well in advance what products you will be promoting and when, and what marketing activity you want to undertake around key purchasing dates such as Mother’s day and Christmas.
Plan your advertising, exhibitions, PR and email marketing for the year, and add a cost for this to the budget you have created. Glossy monthly magazines work around 3 months in advance, so planning ahead is key to getting coverage. It also means your customers will see a more cohesive marketing message from you than with reactive ‘knee-jerk’ marketing.
Stick your plans on the wall to inspire you. If you can do all of the above, you will have given yourself a really strong competitive advantage, and a super-strong start to 2013. Good luck!